March 5, 2024

Sam Kerr stays fresh as Australia trounces Canada 4-0 to win Group B

Sam Kerr sat smiling on the bench, not even needed as Australia saved its Women’s World Cup hopes with a resounding 4-0 victory that dumped Olympic champion Canada out of the tournament.

Kerr was available for action after missing the Matildas’ first two games in Group B and was expected to make an appearance as a substitute at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

However, Australia took an early stranglehold on the game and never eased up, to move into the round of 16 thanks to a pair of first-half goals from Hayley Raso, another after the break by Mary Fowler, and a Steph Catley penalty.

With the game firmly in control, Aussie head coach Tony Gustavsson decided not to risk Kerr (calf injury), who Australia hopes will be close to full fitness for the team’s knockout stage efforts.

‘It was quite frustrating’ – Australia’s Sam Kerr talk crushing injury during Women’s World Cup

'It was quite frustrating' - Australia's Sam Kerr talk crushing injury during Women's World Cup

Heading into the contest, the co-host knew that anything other than all three points would likely lead to elimination, as Nigeria — playing Ireland simultaneously — needed only a point to advance.

Raso scored her first after only nine minutes, tucking away a neat finish after Catley’s cross from the left skipped past two defenders.

And she pounced once more before halftime, capitalizing on confusion in the Canada penalty following a corner and sliding the ball over the line.

Fowler’s score just before the hour was a little scrappy, but things tend to go your way when you’re in the lead and having fun. Fowler couldn’t connect with an effort from close range but saw it squeezed inside the far post anyway, to put the result beyond doubt.

And, in injury time, Catley converted from the spot after Katrina Gorry had been fouled by Jessie Fleming.

Canada vs. Australia Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Canada vs. Australia Highlights | 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup

In Brisbane, Nigeria and Ireland played out a 0-0 draw, meaning the African side finished second in Group B, with Australia jumping to the top of the table.

It was a miserable outcome for Canada, just two years removed from clinching the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics but now heading home after a campaign that never really built up momentum.

No such worries for Australia though, not anymore. And with Kerr set to fully return, the Aussies will be a dangerous presence in the round of 16.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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